I saw a man eating out of a garbage can today, snatching any remnants of discarded fast food he could find. I saw him about two weeks ago as well, he was being chased away by two of the fast food employees telling him to get out and away from there. My heart broke watching him so afraid of those people and seeing such little compassion they had for a hungry man. I am ashamed that I watched and did not help two weeks ago, I am mortified that my lack of action did not provide opposition to their words. Words that were telling him he was no better than the trash from which he was eating.
Two weeks ago I ignored the prompting that beat so strongly in my heart. Today when I saw him again, the prompting to help was even stronger and I could not ignore it. I needed to show him a different message, one that says despite all you have been through, despite all you have been told, you matter. I had been heading into the convenience store with a list that by then had all been forgotten so I started to look for something for this man to eat. I came out with bread and peanut butter, no knife to spread with, but it was something.
I opened the door and looked toward the location of the garbage can. He was still there but when he saw me walk towards him he hurriedly turned the corner to avoid contact. I cannot tell you the look of shame he had, he eyes so hungry but so embarrassed, he must believe that the words hurled at him were true, that he was indeed no better than trash. I followed him around the corner, he had his back to me. I called out to him "sir" , he turned to me looking very wary. I held my hand out with the bag of bread and peanut butter, and explained "I got you something to make sandwiches with, I wish I could find a knife for you to spread it with but at least it is a start". He slowly took the bag without looking at me and looked uncomfortable with all of this. I turned away to go back to my car. I looked back briefly and said "God bless you", got in my car and started to back up out of my parking spot.
As I backed up to the corner where our interaction took place, I saw something out of a vision. He had slung the bag of groceries over his shoulder and with a wide open smile was looking up to heaven and beaming. His face shone in that minute with the truth that he mattered. He was realizing that he was not trash but that his life matters very much. I would love it to last more than a minute for that man, but reality tells me in a few hours he will be accosted by more harsh words and dirty looks that will bring him back to the level of trash. I determine to tell him differently each time I see him and pray that some how, the message of truth sticks.
I tell you this story not because I want to brag about how kind I am, that is simply not true. If you remember the beginning of this blog, I confessed to ignoring the promptings of my heart. Unfortunately I could fill an entire website of all the things I ignore when I could have taken just a minute to show I care. I am telling you this to encourage you to take a minute to show you care. Use your resources of time, money and talents to send the message to someone who needs to know they matter.
The truth is we all matter, poor or rich, young or old, single or in a relationship. We matter very much, we were created, and we live in a very imperfect world which sends us all kinds of messages that oppose the truth that we do matter. God is the reason why you matter, He made you perfectly (lumps and all) for what you are intended for, some know why you are here, others still question their own purpose. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing (including eating garbage) you matter and you are loved.
shine on my friends!!